Objectives To investigate the association between epidural analgesia during delivery and neonatal admission, antibiotic treatment, neonatal sepsis, neonatal hypoglycaemia, and neonatal seizures
Methods Cohort study of singleton, low-risk newborns at term, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark (N = 17,542).
Results Newborns of women with epidural analgesia carried an increased risk of neonatal admission (OR = 1.4 (95% CI; 1.2 to 1.6)), antibiotic treatment (OR = 1.4 (95% CI; 1.1 to 1.7)) and hypoglycaemia (OR = 1.1 (95% CI; 1.1 to 1.9)). The results were adjusted for maternal smoking during pregnancy, maternal pre pregnancy body mass index, level of maternal education, duration of labours and time between rupture of membranes and delivery. The risk of seizures was also statistically significantly increased among newborns of women with epidural analgesia (OR = 5.1 (95% CI; 2.0 to 13.0)), but due to a small number of newborns with seizures the result was only adjusted for duration of labour. Compared with newborns of women without epidural analgesia the adjusted risk of neonatal sepsis was statistically, insignificantly increased among newborns of women with epidural analgesia (OR = 1.2 (95% CI; 0.9 to 1.6)).
Conclusion Epidural analgesia was associated with increased risk of neonatal admission and antibiotic treatment, hypoglycaemia, and neonatal seizures.
Funding: The Carl og Ellen Hertz’s Foundation. All authors declare independence from funders.